Friday, December 10, 2010

Columbia Heights in 1890, 1921, 2002: Photos at 14th/Kenyon/Park

Pretty amazing shot from 2002 by Michael Wilkinson, whose family owns Pete's Apizza. The picture is from the Tivoli Theater down 14th starting with the intersection of 14th Street, Park Road and Kenyon Street.

As we all know, the change is incredible. The building that now has the CVS and the apartments to the south of it are still there in the distance, as are the two Metro entrances, but pretty much every other lot has changed.

The triangle to the left is where the Civic Plaza is now, and across 14th, where the Vitamin Shoppe corner of DCUSA is, there was a Payless Shoes, something called Value Express, a laundromat, and what looks like an empty building. Payless later moved into DCUSA. There's a hot dog cart there too, I wonder if that's the same cart that's there today.

Everything else is empty. In the full size version, behind the Payless you can see a pile of rubble and the old facade (formerly a car dealership) that was later incorporated into the Best Buy side of DCUSA.

And here's a similar view of the same intersection on Google Streetview from a few months ago.

Going farther back, Flickr user Rockcreek has this shot of the Vitamin Shoppe corner of 14th and Park in 1912, from the Library of Congress. Peoples later was purchased by CVS. It looks like it's the same exact building as the Payless above.

And here's the same corner in 1890, as the home of a John Levi. Interesting that all four times (including today) kept that cut off corner in the building.


  1. Seriously excellent. Thanks for posting this.

  2. I really love these glimpses back in time. It's awesome to see how much things can change so quickly. A frickin' tree in an empty lot where Kenyon Square is now.

  3. yeah this is awesome...I love historical fotos like this...

    ...ha ha ha i wonder if the "people's drugstore" had the deodorant looked up in cases as well....

  4. very interesting that the picture of the people's store says "mt. pleasant branch" and not columbia heights. guess the definition of neighborhood names have never been that solid in DC.

  5. Very interesting that the picture of the people's store says "mt. pleasant branch" and not columbia heights. guess the definition of neighborhood names have never been that solid in DC.

    14th St. was originally the eastern boundary of Mt. Pleasant - it semi-officially became 16th St. in 1923 per the decree of the Mt. Pleasant Citizens' Association (see Howard Gillette, Jr. and Linda Low's chapter on the neighborhood in Washington at Home.)

  6. That last store in that strip, the empty building, was a Woolworth.

  7. ...and the missing period (before the peoples) is the Arcade Market,former trolley car barn, then short lived amusement center, then a full blown indoor farmers market, torn down late 1940's-- which you can see on the Col Hts Heritage trail placard in front of the Heights Restaurant

  8. I realize I am extremely late to this party, but I lived in the neighborhood at the time of the 2002 picture. I like the progress for the most part, but I did my laundry at that laundrumat and got to know the guy who kept it up and, I have to wonder what happened to him. Nicest guy ever...when I told him I walked home from the Metro late from my job, I'd see him standing outside watching for me to walk by safely, nodding a watchful hello as I went by, and we had a hug and cry when I finally moved away...


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